How is the Price for Screen Printing Computed?

There are so many variables to figuring out the price for screen printing that this is one of the hardest things to do in our industry. We have tried to simplify this as much as possible for out clients by incorporating various components of the pricing calculation into larger groups that are easier to understand. For instance, we try to capture film/screen generation, press setup, ink cost, and the actual printing into the over all price of each individual garment so all the client needs to know is what the price of the garment cost.

TStudio Catalog

TStudio Catalog

And for some of our more popular products we have a Quick Quoter so all you need to know is the color of the product you want, the number of prints and colors in the prints (though see below for information on this), and the quantity you are interested in — and you can get an instant quote (these quotes do not include applicable Sales Tax for California residents). You can find these popular products at the catalog for our TStudio. Just find the product you are interested in and click on “Get a Quick Quote”.

We are in the process of adding more-and-more products to the TStudio, so you may not find what you are looking for. In that case check out our other major BreakOut Catalogs; which contain thousands of items. Unfortunately, these do not have the Quick Quote ability, but you can contact us and we will provide a quote within 24 hours.

However, for those more curious below is a look under the hood to see some of the factors that go into coming up with all these costs.

Product Brand/Style: The first major item that goes into determining the cost of screen printing is the product that is being screen printed itself. We carry a very wide range of products and they vary just as widely in terms of cost. The cost for a t-shirt, without any printing on it may range from as little as $3.00 to as much as $35.00. Hoodies, polo shirts, and other items can have even greater ranges. Now the price for the product is also impacted by the quantity that is purchased. If you purchase 250 t-shirts, even before we add screen printing charges, you would pay less per t-shirt then if you ordered 50 t-shirts. See the Are there Price Breaks on Screen Printing? article for more information on this.

Screen Printing: The cost to do the actual screen printing is based upon three factors. The number of Design Locations, the number of Design Colors, and Quantity being purchased.

Design Locations: Simply put, the more print locations you have, the greater the cost. The reason for this is that for each print location we have to setup the press with new screens and print that design as if it were a brand new project. This applies to every location you need to have printed on the same product. So if you wanted a design on the left chest of a t-shirt, on the upper back, and on the lower back, that would constitute three (3) different print locations and would be priced appropriately. Now if the lower back and upper back design were moved closer to each other and placed in the center of the back, then the project would only be two (2) colors greatly reducing the printing cost.

Design Colors: This is a big factor in screen printing and generally is the most difficult for clients to understand. The basic concept is that the number of colors for each Design Location is used to determine what the screen printing charge will be. Now this is not always as easy as it seems. See the What is Spot Color, 4-Color Process, and Indexed Colors? article for more information about design colors. In some cases it can be very simplistic, in other cases not so easy. Probably the most confusing aspect of this for clients is when they have the same color in two different design locations. Please see the Why do I have to Pay to have the same Color Printed Twice? article for more information about this issue.

Quantity Breaks: Like I already mentioned in Product/Brand Style that the number of the selected Product (e.g. T-shirt, Hoodie) you purchase impacts the price, the quantity of you purchase also impacts the price of the actual screen printing cost. Again see the Are there Price Breaks on Screen Printing? article for more information about this.

NOTE: For most products we try to capture all the above cost and provide you with a single price per product item so you can easily compare with our other products (e.g. the cost of T-shirt “A” vs T-shirt “B”). Unlike some Printers we do not quote you one price for the t-shirt or hoodie and then complicate it with additional setup fees or make you adjust the price yourself depending upon the quantity you purchase. This allows you a straight up apples-to-apples comparison. Plus you know exactly what your cost is going to be (though we normally do not include applicable Sales Tax for California residents as it varies depending upon what you are purchasing).  With our simple all inclusive pricing, it is easy for clients to know what to charge their members/clients as it is just the price we give plus tax.

Special Pricing: While we try to capture all the cost as described above, there are times when additional special items are required to print your project.This cost are normally annotated separately on the client quote and not folded into the single unit price for each product as described above.

Graphic Artist: To get a clean and detailed print we require either high resolution or vector artwork. See the Why do I need High Resolution Artwork? article for more details on this type of artwork. Some clients are able to provide this high resolution or vector art, but some just do not have the necessary files or graphic art skills to do this. In those case our in-house graphic artist can assist clients with cleaning up the clients artwork or creating brand new unique artwork from scratch. The amount of time varies with each project. The cost for this runs $50 an hour. If the client has low resolution artwork, then sometimes having the artwork vectorized is a cheaper alternative.

Vectorization: As mentioned above we need high resolution or vector artwork to get a decent print of your design. Sometimes the client just has low resolution artwork or maybe even hand drawn artwork. The artwork does not require any changes to it, the artwork just needs to be at a high enough resolution so it can be printed. In these cases we have the capability to have the artwork vectorized. This is a process where the low resolution artwork is traced and converted to a vector image and then the lines are cleaned up to ensure that the artwork provides the higher resolution needed for printing. This is a much lower cost of only $25 per design. In some cases where we have both lower resolution artwork, but it needs some changes to the artwork, it makes sense to have the lower resolution artwork vectorized and then modified by our graphic artists. Less expensive than having the whole design recreated by our graphic artists.

Special Ink: There are a variety of special inks that may be used depending upon the print job. The most common of these is Neon ink. But there are others that are sometimes used for special projects. These special inks carry a little additional surcharge to cost of the products as the ink cost more than the standard ink used for the majority of print projects.


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